Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Tongue: palate & speech

After the post on meat and staying consistent with the 5th chakra on discrimination, I was going to share some of swami's thoughts on the dual function of the tongue - food and speech.

I was hoping to extract some of His words on the nature of the tongue from Al Druker's book "Sai Baba Gita", but have unfortunately misplaced the book which has a very good chapter on this topic. In it, Swami explains that of all the 5 senses the most important to control is the tongue as, unlike the others, it has this dual role that is related to:-

i) the 2nd "water" chakra of desire by its food aspect as well as

ii) the 5th "ether" chakra by its discriminatory speech aspect.

Also in yogic astrology the 5th chakra is ruled by Gemini and Virgo whose lord is the planet Mercury that governs all forms of communication and intelligence. Mercury is Hermes in Greek mythology and is the messenger of the Gods with the word as the medium through which our discrimination functions. This discrimination helps us choose our words correctly as well as our food, and is the means (esp. via music and bhajans) through which the 2nd chakra pranic (creative hara) energies are sent up the spine to the detaching power of the mind (6th) through the power of effort and determination (3rd chakra) feeling and devotion (4th chakra) and analysis, discrimination and understanding (5th chakra).

Food (in)

As far as taste and the palate is concerned, Swami often reiterates the strong connection between the gross quality of food and its subtle essence and vibration contributing to becoming the very texture of our thoughts. Thus, satwic or pure foods such as fresh, raw and organic vegetables, fruits and nuts are more prana promoting and are essential to establishing a calmer, clearer mind with more energy and purity of thought.

Notably, He advises, much like the Buddhists, against certain foods, such as meat, garlic, onions, too much milk, cheese, or salt that not only create more rajasic restless tendencies but can also stimulate the 2nd chakra too much through overtly nourishing the sexual glands. One particular example He gives is fish (and seafoods in general) which He indicates, despite living in water, still smells when you take them out and too much of its consumption results in "bad" thoughts. Of course, it is not about leading a celibate or excessively puritanical life, but Swami seems to strongly advocate self control over the senses before they can be used in a balanced way and especially advises dietary restrictions of this sort amongst the youth who undergo more temptations with excessive energy associated with hormonal changes.

Anyway, more on the subject of sex sublimation could be covered in the 2nd chakra but just to note here that there is a strong connection between sex and creativity as was first publicly popularized in the West through Napoleon Hill's book "Think and Grow Rich". He researched and made the observation and association to men with high creative energies and libido with those that through its transmutation were able to make it express the same creative potential through high achievements in the field of their work. Thus, the 2nd chakra energies were brought up to the 5th and 6th and the powers of the mind were harnessed into creative visualization, drive and mind power, sometimes drawing down 7th level cosmic energies in some inspired cases. In Raja Yoga, as was exemplified through Swami Sivananda, who was a medical practitioner in Malaysia before His enlightenment, also expounded on the means and benefits of brahmacharya (celibacy), mental control and dietary restrictions. And of all the disciplines that Ramana Maharishi recommended, moderation in food, sex and sleep were given priority. So food is essential in the management of mind and desire.

Speech (out)

The other faculty associated with the tongue is speech and the discerning power and use of the word. Swami shares that words have so much power and once released like arrows they cannot be returned, and often have a devastating effect on its targets. The power of the word with the feeling, tone and vibration behind it can create or destroy. The Vedas and spiritual language of Sankrit have made a metaphysics and science out of this etheric power in nature through the fundamental effect of sound, the word and mantra. Specific mantras and intonations when harnessed through concentration and devotion develops siddhis or powers in the mind of the tantric or practitioner of this art. And, of course, it can be used for good or bad; as in black magic that draws on elemental forces to direct discordant thought forms and energies to its "enemies". And there are many stories in the Ramayana and Mahabharata that attest to its potential possibilities.

And in the realm of communication, words as symbols have many meanings that can be used trickily or clearly; to deceive, save or to educate. This can be seen in the exemplary lives of incarnation. From the incarnation of Rama as the ideal man who never lied or broke his word to the full incarnation of Krishna who mischievously used words, not to lie but to play with in order to endear others as well as protect dharma against evil forces. It was not an example or excuse to lie but too reveal the discrimination that is needed on the spiritual path to discern fact from fiction even in relative life.

To me the progression from Rama to Krishna also shows that there has to be an integration of thought, word and deed in order for the perfecting discrimination to see the self-concept as an illusion in the light of wisdom. Once this wisdom is established the same illusion (the man or woman) can play in the illusion not wanting to hurt anyone but in the leela of love thier example teaches the mischief of conceptual life; that is to break others concepts of reality in the unreal. So Krishna's role was to confuse and mystify man to surrender this ego to the play that is God's mysterious Will.

However, often the ego must have completely "landed" and been liquidated before this role can happen spontaneously without the taint of and temptation to manipulate others. As ultimately all speech is not the truth but a conceptual pointer to the pointless. And the truth that is spoken is not the truth yet, there is still conceptual clarity in the demystification of the false through a symptomatic clarity of expression.

In Vedantic parlance, this expression takes 4 levels of speech;

1. abstract knowledge
2. ego identification
3. mind formulation
4. spoken word

According to Nisargadatta Maharaj, most people undiscerning and unaware of their spiritual Reality within and beyond, operate at the 3rd and 4th levels of speech and are completely identified with what they say. It is only with awareness, recognition and forgetting of the illusiory nature of the ego that abstract knowledge from the universal manifest operates spontaneously without filters through a "jnanis" (enlightened persons) instruments and speech without, the so called jnani, taking any personal delivery or identification with it (Consciousness Speaks). But at this level, like a smoothly operating machine and car or the unconsciously digesting food that has already swallowed, this understanding, knowledge, clarity and spontonaeity of expression happens below the level of the jnanis recognition who is awareness itself and abiding in the Absolute; beyond the 3 states of mind and 4 levels of speech - the Supreme Mouna (Silent Still Speech of Reality)

No comments: